Home For The Holidays

I was given this year’s nutcracker last night! Hubby had started giving them to me early so I could enjoy them the whole season. Some years I get them earlier than others because he cannot stand to hang on to it after he gets it. This showed up on the porch yesterday afternoon and it was sitting in my spot at the table for dinner last night. I loved what he picked for the theme this year.

So much is going to be different this holiday season, but I’m good with that.

I won’t be doing bake sale baking this year because there won’t be a bake sale. The organizers are still taking donations to be able to support the families they provide for through the holidays, but no one is in the office right now, so a bake sale isn’t feasible. Instead, we are going to donate what they normally make off my baked goodies to help make up the difference of what they’d get from the sale.

We are also holing up and not leaving again after this week. I have one more errand I have to take care of, then I’m going to do my best to not leave the house again until after the first of the year. Hubby will still take care of our essential shopping, but I won’t be leaving. I’m not taking any chances with a lowered or suppressed immune system.

We got all the pieces I need for my craft room project yesterday to paint the walls and install the floor. I figure that after the contractors are done, that is about all I’d be able to get done until after the first of the year and will keep me from needing to leave to get any supplies.

I have my fingers crossed that our local government actually implements the health department recommendations of no gatherings larger than 10 as that will mean I don’t have to make the decision to keep BG from participating in her Christmas dance performances. The studio has put us in another awkward position as parents because they said they were going to make masks optional for the performances. They are live streaming them instead of having families come to the studio, but I think making it mask optional is recklessly stupid and I’m leaning towards keeping BG out because of that (and many other factors as well).

The last piece that is up in the air on our total stay at home for the holidays plan is what MC’s school is going to do. We know that they are not required to come back to campus after the Thanksgiving break, but they still have not answered questions about his requirements to live on campus next semester, so I have no clue if we are moving him out of the dorms in the next couple of weeks or not.

Staying home also means no big meal with Hubby’s dad and sister. For either Thanksgiving or Christmas. We haven’t seen either one of them since February other than Hubby taking care of a few critical appointments with my FIL, but we are all in agreement that we need to do this.

I am planning on fixing a full Thanksgiving dinner to take out and drop off with them the day before. The whole family will go, but we will only stay outside and just long enough to drop it off and leave. I will probably also do something similar for Christmas. At least he will get a nice, home cooked meal that way even if we can’t spend any time together. That is the best we can do right now. It helps to make sure that EVERYONE is still around for next holiday season.

And just to give you a visual reminder….

Intubation Graphic
Intubation Graphic

 

School Heading Into Fall And Winter

Up until recently, I’ve been mostly happy with the school situation with both BG doing her junior year remotely and MC being nearly all remote for his freshman year of college, but still being required to be in his dorm.

Ideally, I’d still prefer MC do be able to do his part from home, but I’ve been really pleased with how his school has handled things. So far, there have not been any cases on campus, which is kind of shocking. They are being told that they are not required to come back to campus after their Thanksgiving break because of concerns of students getting together with families over the holidays.

I think there are plans to go full virtual after the new year, but I don’t think they’ve confirmed those plans yet or how that will impact those students like MC that have the campus requirement for their scholarships.

With BG, I’ve been more than thrilled with her being virtual. She mostly prefers it that way, but has run into a few bumps and frustrations, mostly with a less than organized teacher that has extremely poor communication skills and never answers emails. There is most likely going to be the option to choose virtual again for next semester and she will absolutely be taking that option when it finally comes up.

The problem I am having is that she is still required to go to the school for some of her tests since they are for her AP classes and have to be monitored. This wouldn’t bother me nearly so much if I weren’t now getting a daily email of yet another positive test case at the school and I wasn’t also aware that it is absolutely possible to proctor an exam virtually as MC has done that for all of his online only courses.

We had reasons to choose the online only option. We made that decision after carefully considering all the different pieces and risk factors involved and determined it would be better for all of us if BG did the online only option. Yes, she has a risk through dance, but those factors were less of a risk than the school (fewer contact points, less time, better environmental factors) and some social interaction is important.

I strongly dislike the fact that she is still required to increase her exposure risk by going into the school building and sitting in a classroom with other students and a teacher going between two different classrooms of different students in the process when there are other options. I am even more upset now that there are beginning to be so many cases in our district, yet they are still requiring this in person testing.

It is already becoming a problem as some students that were in person and may have been in contact with a positive test case are forced to quarantine and cannot be in the school at all until they are out of quarantine, so they can’t take those tests until later, which kind of goes against some of the protections and reasons they require these tests be proctored.

I get it. This is unprecedented and these teachers and administrators are treading brand new ground and don’t have any kind of playbook to follow. I do think that some of these teachers have done a stellar job, going above and beyond to educate these kids (BG has a couple that she absolutely adores and so does MC). I do understand that we are probably more fortunate than a lot of others as I’ve seen some really awful stories about other people’s experiences. At the same time, sometimes I really wonder if some are ever actually thinking or if they just truly don’t have a clue.

Sadly, I think we are at a point here, or at least very close to it, where more and more students are going to be forced to go online (possibly even completely), so it is only going to get worse and I don’t know that our district or teachers are actually prepared for that.

Christmas Program Week

This weekend kicked off Christmas Program week for BG at dance, starting with ballet. It is crowded and sometimes not easy to see because of that, but I love these programs. They are smaller and more intimate than the huge end of year recital. This year was even more interesting as BG had her boyfriend show up which made her a bit of a nervous wreck. We spent nearly the entire program, BG and I, making eye contact and faces at each other. Me, mostly to help her relax and have fun. There were a couple of times where the expression on her face was priceless as she was trying so damn hard not to laugh. It was perfect and she was beautiful as always.

Continue reading “Christmas Program Week”

This Year’s Nutcracker

I have been getting at least one nutcracker a year since I was 16. When Hubby and I got together, he took over the tradition. A few years back, he started giving them to me on the day we decorate instead of on Christmas so that I’d be able to have it out for the whole season. He always tries to theme them, using something we have done over the year to create that theme. The year we fixed our chimney (finally), I got a chimney sweep. The year we took a vacation to the mountains, I got a hiker. This year, he used the massive home improvements with the windows and the new HVAC and went with a Cozy Santa, bringing my count up to 41 if you count the two giant ones I made last year. I have such a huge variety, in both size and style. They range from uber traditional to kinda insanely wacky. I absolutely adore my nutcrackers and my kids love seeing them get unpacked every year. BG is even talking about wanting to start her own tradition and collection. It is a tradition I’m seriously considering starting for her.

Frosty Leaf

Today is decorating day. Normally that means both inside and out, but we got the out done early because they were predicting crappy weather. It is kinda funny how insane my kids are about this tradition. They have been talking about it for weeks and bounced off the walls when they got up this morning. So much so, you would have thought it was actually Christmas morning instead. Time to get my sparkle on!

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I will sit down with my family and enjoy a meal I spent hours working on. It isn’t something I begrudge because it is one of the ways I get to show how much I care about them. We are all healthy. We are all safe. We are all happy and loved. For that, I am grateful for so many cannot say the same. I am also incredibly grateful to know that my good friend and her family are also safe after having been evacuated from their home because of the fires in California. They still have a home and a job to get back to. They are some of the more fortunate ones. They may not be as happy or feel as safe today because their lives are still turned upside down, but they are safe. They are healthy. They are still here and the world is a better place because of that.  So today I am grateful for so many things but it is with the heaviness of knowing that so many others aren’t so fortunate today.

 

Bring On The Scary

This will probably be the first year ever that I won’t be carving a pumpkin for Halloween. We have always gone all out for Halloween with a full on haunted garage and everything and the pumpkins have always been a huge part of that. It is something I adore doing and usually put a crap ton of work into, but this year, I do not have the motivation. At all. Continue reading “Bring On The Scary”